I had a message from Uganda today that Josephine died last night.
Josephine Apoo was a woman whom I met last time I was in Uganda in the remote community of Olimai. No one knew exactly how old she was but she was well over 100, perhaps as old as 110 – remarkable in a country where the average life expectancy is about 60. “She was here when people ran around wearing no clothes at all,” I was told. The stuff of which early African stories are made.
Her neighbours were always looking out for her. She would join them for tea or a bit of food, walking with a stick from her house. We shared tea and some mango one bright October afternoon in 2013.
The last time I saw her she was heading home into a brisk wind. A storm was threatening. She was pretty sturdy against the wind. The image of her heading into the wind, over 100 years old, still being strong and independent is one that I will never forget.
My friend in Uganda asked that I join them in celebrating her life. Worth celebrating, indeed. My condolences to her many loved ones in Olimai. I feel privileged to have met her.